Today Cape Town was lucky to enjoy beautiful autum weather – mild 23 degrees, no wind and blue skies. Ideal to go for a bike ride and as Brett Roux and I are both training for some sort of endurance event (Sani 2 c in his case, Vatternrundan in my case) we grab the bull by the horn (or the bike by the bars) and left Mouille Point on the Atlantic Coast shortly after sunrise.
Chapmans Peak / Cape Town (by @BrettRoux)
After making our way through the Cape Town CBD (fine on a public holiday) and through Woodstock (supposedly still up and coming, like it has been for the last 10 years…), Main Road takes us all the way South to Steenberg. A fairly uneventful first 30 kilometers, before we hit the highest climb of the day, Ou Kaapse Weg, a 4 km -400 metre ascent with stunning views over the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. A fast 10 kilometres later we are at Cafe Roux (apparently not related to Brett’s family) in Noordhoek, enjoying cappuchino before the next big climb of the day:
Chapmans Peak is probably the most spectacular coastal road in Africa and must be my favourite climb in Cape Town, especially on a day like this with light cloud cover, the sun beaming through every now and then and the rocky shore hiding in the mist. We flew up this 300m ascent and rolled into Hout Bay, where my nemesis awaits: Suikerbossie is the most painful climb at the end of any Cape Argus Cycletour, but today no cramps were in sight. A fast ride along the Atlantic, via Kommetje and Camps Bay took us back to Seapoint in a bit less than 3 hours, including the coffee stop.
Mouille Point Lighthouse
Chapmans Peak in the mist
Cape Peninsula route
Brett at Ou Kaapse Weg
Fortunately I get to ride my bicycle in South Africa, possibly the most beautiful country on this planet. However, the advantage of warm sunny weather and challenging landscapes also require something I always disliked: sun tan lotion and sweat management. There is simply nothing worse than cycling up Chapman’s Peak in Cape Town, with a mixture of suntan lotion and sweat running into your eyes. For those people in the north: it burns like hell.
The clever people at GUTR have developed a sweatband that doesn’t attempt to catch and retain your sweat (and sun tan lotion) like many other products. In other words – it doesn’t turn into a wet and smelly piece of fabric that can hold a certain amount of sweat and then turns useless. The GUTR sweatband is a silicon band with an inbuilt gutter that merely channels the sweat running down your forehead to the sides of your face. That is all. Simple, brilliant. Does it work?
I have tried the GUTR on a multistage MTB event with some 6000m of climbing and once you adjusted the size correctly (it comes with three different size connecting rings) between painfully tight and uselessly lose your are perfectly fine. The sweat that builds up on or runs down your forehead is efficiently pushed to the sides of your head. You realize how well it works when you feel the stream of sweat running down your cheeks. There are two drawbacks though: I found it quite difficult to get the helmet fitting perfectly without pushing the headband down onto my ears, but I blame my head shape for that. It also won’t stop 100% of the sweat from running down, as some of it transpires below the sweat band, e.g. in your eyebrows etc. It does however stop 95% of the sweat, frustration and burning eyes. Possibly one of the greatest cheap bike expenses you will make.